Birmingham (WWJ) – A week after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the east coast, the world’s largest property restoration company Belfor, based in Birmingham Mich., is hauling truckloads of supplies from Metro Detroit into the disaster zone.
WWJ’s Kathryn Larson visited their Livonia warehouse and talked with Belfor CEO Sheldon Yellen about what the company is doing to help.
Traveling a thousand miles in a night — more than 40 trailers are trucking in the essentials including many gallons of gasoline.
“Some cars in front of them have literally run out of gas while waiting and these tankers can’t get in and fill these stations. And then when they do get gas into them — there’s no power. There’s no generation there to allow the gas to be pumped,” said Yellen.
Yellen is in the disaster cleanup business, but even he says this is one of the worst incidents his company has ever tackled.
He explained the challenge saying, “The geographic area involved. You go from south New Jersey all the way up to north Jersey, New York city itself, which is incredibly difficult to maneuver around and then you go up into Canada. Our Canadian offices have been affected by the storm. We’ve recieved over 400 assignments in our Canadian office.”
Yellen added, “1700 service crew members with Belfor are already stationed in Superstorm Sandy’s wake, but that number could go up to 3000 and double from there as the cleanup efforts continue. There is no doubt. There’s a long couple weeks ahead”
In the meantime, Yellen said Belfor is prepared for anything, including the upcoming Nor’easter. “One of these vehicles that are lined up here, I understand they have 300 winter jackets, Belfor winter jackets, gloves, hats and boots. Yeah we have to prepare our people for the Nor’easter that’s headed that way and make sure our people are protected and can perform their duties.”
Yellen said it won’t be uncommon for his crew to put in 20 hour days pumping out the water and clearing the debris.
“This is what we do. And this is what we’re called upon to do. And it’s honor to be able to serve,” he added.